NCAA Regional: Game 3
Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M
May 17, 2014

Oklahoma Head Coach Patty Gasso

Opening statement:
“An opening statement can not do justice to what you just witnessed. This team is a team that did what they’re capable of doing. As long as they have one strike left in their arsenal they’re going to use it and that’s what they did. Credit to A&M. They’re a team that can swing and we felt them the entire game, and they took advantage. They were clutch all game long and had timely hits. One thing I thought was very important to just give us a chance was when Shelby (Pendley) stepped up and answered their four-run inning, and Brittany Williams answered as well so now we’re down by two going into the bottom of the seventh and we talked a little bit as a group about what the seven, eight and nine’s job was and that was to find a way to get on base. I don’t care what or how. I don’t care if you get hit by a pitch. Find a way to turn the lineup to the top. Callie Parsons was the catalyst of that inning. She made all that happen and Javen Henson as well. They turned it over to (Destinee) Martinez and then they made that pitching change, and how would you like to come to the pitching circle and face Shelby Pendley, Lauren Chamberlain and Brittany Williams? Once Brittany hustled down the line and found a way to be safe, what a heads-up play by Destinee Martinez not to stand there with two outs. We had just tied the game so why not? The confusion and everybody turning their backs to home play allowed it to happen, so that was a really heads-up base running decision. I’m so proud of this team and how they find ways to somehow do the impossible.”

On her thoughts after the grand slam:
“It was always, we have enough game left. That’s the way you have to look at it. You can’t say, 'Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?' We were coming back at a good place in the lineup and that’s how I looked at it. If I thought, 'Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?' then they’re going to feed off that and feel that. I can’t. They’re too good. I have to think we’re going to find a way to do it. Our crowd was tremendous today. A&M travels well. They bring voices with them. Our fans were right there with us so you could feel the pressure of trying to shut down an Oklahoma offense that people know about on their field in front of their crowd. I don’t know that they have tested pitchers with that kind of experience, so it’s tough on them. You could feel that they weren’t used to that pressure. And we felt them feeling that. At that time base-on-ball is as important as balls hit through gaps. We were just finding ways to put runners on base without big hits. We were in a take system just to find ways to get on. I believe in them.”

On Texas A&M’s pitching:
“She did a good job of keeping us off balance and we didn’t really do a good job of adjusting to the game plan that we set up for her. We weren’t executing that plan. They stepped up and found ways to keep us in the game. That’s the name of the game is finding ways to get on, and base-on-balls are as good as anything you can hit off the wall at that time. We understand the strike zone, and we try to be the ones to never get ourselves out. I think seven strikeouts was a little much for us today, and untimely strikeouts as well. “

On Brittany Williams’ last at-bat:
“Where she placed it was in a place that I knew it was going to be a tough play. I could see her veering away. The idea was if you could just get around that tag and watching Destinee fly. I’m not telling Destinee anything. She’s already knowing exactly what she’s going to do. As soon as they turned their back on us, if Brittany could just avoid that tag, we win. If they would have made a tag on Brittany and they made the third out and A&M would have won that game, I would say bring it on tomorrow. We’re not like, 'Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?' We don’t think that way. We understand any trial that comes our way and any circumstance.”

On Destinee Martinez scoring at the end:
“I think it’s a little bit of Destinee being aggressive. Once we tied the game with two outs you have nothing to lose, so go for the win. That’s maybe a little bit of the thought process there but with two outs and her speed you go, go, go. She saw that. I was looking more at the play to see whether I need to get involved or not, and she just ran right past me.”

Junior Lauren Chamberlain

On her status:
“It’s improving everyday. At the beginning of the game I told coach I’m going to give you everything I have to the best that I can right now, so I’m trying my best to do that.”

On being able to rely on her teammates:
“It’s been this way all season. Coming back off an injury, the pressure is off from me, and I feel like with these big hitters surrounding me it’s allowing me to just put the ball in play like I can and like Brittany said, not press. The pitchers talk about their players and hitters having their back, and I feel the same way about my teammates in the lineup.”

On the feel in the dugout:
“There was so much positive talk. There wasn’t a second that we though we were going to lose that game. That’s what makes this team special. You talk things into existence and they start happening. This undeniable attitude is what we’re going to carry through this.”

Senior Brittany Williams

On relying on the other hitters:
“We trust in each other, so if one of us doesn’t get the job done we’re right there by each other regardless of what happens and we have each other’s backs. I wasn’t trying to press, I was just trying to find my way on and get the job done.” 

Junior Shelby Pendley

On the pitch for the grand slam:
“It was an inside drop and it was where it was supposed to go. She just got her barrel to it and hit it over. We got out of that inning and I gave up another the next inning. I just knew my team was behind my back.”

On the feel in the dugout:
“Everyone comes in the dugout communicating their at-bat and letting everyone know what pitches they got and what pitches were working for them.”

Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans

Opening statement:
“I thought our ballclub played really well today. Proud of the way we fought. Just came up big when we got behind by four runs. Amber (Garza) stepped up and got the big homerun to put within reach. Great opportunity to Cali Lanphear to come off the bench and get a big grand slam. Abby Donnell came in with having given up four runs, and Abby came in and did just a terrific job and pitched her heart out out there. Katie Marks wasn’t perfect, but she did her job and gave us a chance to win a ballgame at the end by throwing a ground ball right there. I am really proud of our kids and how they fought and am really disappointed for them. I feel like we played the kind of game that we could win and put ourselves in the winner’s bracket undefeated, so it’s a disappointing loss.”

On bring Cali Lanphear hitting a grand slam as a pinch hitter:
“Cali, it’s been a disappointing year for her. Had such a great freshman year, hitting 21 homeruns last year, and I think this year coming into the game she had four. Prior to the game, Coach (Mary Jo) Firnbach, our hitting coach, talked about how Cali was swinging the bat well and looked good in pregame, so it was an opportunity for me in that situation to use her to pinch hit for Taran Tyler, and Cali just went up there with ice in her veins and just got right after it. Really proud of Cali. It’s not been an easy year for her, but she has continued to work hard and really shown great character and great fight, and for her to get that grand slam was a thrill.”

On the team’s thoughts entering another game tonight:
“I know our team is heartbroken after that loss. They did everything they needed to do to put themselves in a perfect position to win. Katie Marks made a really great pitch against a very good hitter. It’s disappointing when you do everything you need to do to give yourselves a chance to win a ballgame and then it doesn’t happen. I feel heartbroken for Jenna Stark. She had a great game for us. She got up there in the sixth inning, seventh inning maybe, and gave us the insurance run, the eighth run, and got a big hit up the middle. She was two-for-four today and made a nice play on the (Lauren) Chamberlain flair line drive. She did so many good things today. Jenna a star truly, one of the kids who is the heart and soul of our ball club. I am concerned about her. I know she is obviously upset. But we’ve seen our team rally back. We expected to win this regional. We came here expecting to win it. I know that’s probably not popular to say on somebody else’s field, but we feel like we have everything we need to win this. For us, it’s just really important for us to come back and whoever we face be determined to win the ballgame and rally around ourselves. We’ve got a senior class of eight kids, and they need to be emotionally and mentally mature to be able to handle this and come right back and get in a game. I think it’s nice we get to play again in a hurry to sort of get that bad taste out of our mouths and go right back out there and play the game. We’ve got to trust we have everything we need to win a ballgame.”

Texas A&M Senior Third Baseman Amber Garza

On her three-run homerun that Texas A&M within one run:
“I was just going up there trying to put the ball in play. We had runners in scoring position. All day I felt like I’d been seeing the ball really well. I didn’t have the result I wanted, but I was seeing it. I was pretty confident going into that at-bat and she just threw me the pitch I was looking for.”

On facing Bryant or Hofstra tonight:
“To go out there and play our game. We know we can win. We feel like we can beat anybody on the field, and we are just going to go out there and play our game, attack.”